The Edmond Sun

March 4, 2013

Ammo still scarce 3 months after Sandyhook

Mark Schlachtenhaufen
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — John Hoffman Jr. was shooting a .22-caliber Magnum at the Heartland Outdoors range. He comes to the north Edmond range about once a week. When it comes to buying more ammunition at area retailers, pickin’s have been pretty slim lately, he said.

Cleo Land, a retired Edmond Police officer who works in sales for Heartland Outdoors, said the store would love to sell more ammunition but is at the mercy of manufacturers and distributors. Firearms also have been in high demand.

A variety of issues have combined to continue strong demand for ammunition in the U.S. They include the results of the presidential election, rumors about the federal government stockpiling bullets, issues raised by mass shootings like the tragedy at an elementary school in Connecticut, apocalypse preppers and political rhetoric about gun control.

Land said after the mass shooting in Connecticut, Heartland Outdoors’ business spiked. The company did about a year’s worth of business in firearms including pistols, AR 15s and ammunition in a couple of months, Land said.

Supplies are still somewhat diminished and it likely will take some time to get back to normal levels, Land said. Meanwhile, he urged current customers and future customers who continue to come in at higher-than-usual levels to be patient.

Hall said initially supplies diminished at H&H Shooting Sports. Product is still coming in but not at a high enough pace to meet customer demand, he said. Manufacturers are doing all they can to keep up, Hall said. He was not sure when supply will meet demand again.

Hall said in recent years there have been three “waves,” periods of increased customer traffic. The first two were in 1989 and 2010. The third began in August 2011, when customers wanted to protect their families and shoot recreationally. Since the shooting at Sandyhook Elementary, this wave of demand has dwarfed the other two and remains intense, Hall said.

Customer transactions continue to be more than double the normal rate, Hall said.

Ken McNair, executive director of the Oklahoma Sheriff’s Association, which maintains an Edmond office, said the ammunition shortage is making it harder for sheriffs who need to train for recertification.

Edmond resident Miles Hall, owner of H&H Shooting Sports at 400 S. Vermont Ave. in Oklahoma City, said he could sell more ammunition if it were available.

Jenny Monroe, spokeswoman for the Edmond Police Department, said there have been no issues to this point in obtaining enough ammunition for the agency’s needs. It is supplied by GT Distributors, Monroe said.

In January, CNNMoney reported Walmart was limiting ammunition sales to three boxes per customer per day.

“Right now we’re monitoring supply issues daily, since supply is limited at this time,” Walmart spokeswoman Ashley Hardie told CNN. “We’re trying to take care of as many customers as possible and we’re working with suppliers to put products back on shelves.”

In February, President Barack Obama delivered the annual State of the Union address to Congress. After speaking about issues including the economy, deficit reduction, health care costs, reforming the tax code, job creation and education the president turned to the topic of gun control.

Senators in both parties are working on tough new laws to prevent anyone from buying guns to resale to criminals, Obama said. Obama mentioned the string of recent shootings including those in Newtown, Conn., and Aurora, Colo., and said victims’ families deserve a vote.  

In his response to the president’s speech, National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said a year ago he began to warn America’s gun owners that if re-elected the president would begin dismantling the Second Amendment.

“It’s not about keeping our kids safe at school,” LaPierre said. “That wasn’t even mentioned in the president’s speech. They only care about their decades-old gun control agenda — ban every gun they can, tax every gun sold and register every gun owner.” | 341-2121, ext. 108